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Premiership Rugby

Five new Referees to start Zurich Premiership Season

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Geraint Ashton Jones, Wayne Barnes, Sean Davey, Martin Fox and David Rose will be taking charge of Premiership matches while the Rugby World Cup is in progress. 

The quintet range in age from 23 to 41 and include a barrister, a PE teacher and Royal Navy officer who runs mountain marathons in his spare time. 

Those that excel in the opening months of the season will be added to the list of regular Premiership officials by the RFU Elite Referees Unit managed by Colin High. 

"Over the last season and in some cases for a longer period, this group has demonstrated the potential to referee in the Zurich Premiership," said High. 

"They have distinguished themselves in National League One and once identified by ERU management they were exposed to cross-border games in France and Scotland, and in Under-21 World Cup and Under-21 Six Nations games. 

"They will each be given two to four matches during the 10 week period when the Rugby World Cup is taking place and their performances closely monitored." 

The five officials complete a 14-strong RFU Elite Referees Unit first set up in 2001, and two ERU members will be on duty at each Zurich Premiership game – one in the middle and one as the reserve official. 

This season, the Refs will be supported by specialists running both touchlines for the first time after enlargement of the RFU's Elite Touch Judges Unit from 10 to 15. 

Other innovations include a new radio system that will enable the match officials to communicate more effectively, use of Television Match Officials at all games covered live by SkySports and three different strips sponsored by Zurich that will be worn for Premiership games. 

New Premiership Referees

Geraint Ashton JonesAge: 38 Born: 11/09/64 Lives: Hampshire

Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander who works as an Information Systems Engineer in Portsmouth. He lists running ultra and mountain marathons and cooking as his hobbies. 

Wayne BarnesAge: 24 Born: 20/04/79 Lives: London

Barrister called to the bar in 2002 who started refereeing at the age of 15 at Bream in Gloucestershire. On the RFU National Panel by the age of 21.

Sean DaveyAge: 37 Born: 10/03/66 Lives: Sussex

Geography and PE teacher at Christ's Hospital in Horsham. Originally from Ashington, in Northumberland, the home town of football's Charlton brothers and Jackie Milburn – and full-time rugby referee Dave Pearson.

Martin FoxAge: 41 Born: 09/01/62 Lives: Leicestershire

Director of a property company and a member of the RFU National Panel since 1996. Refereed the World Under-19 final in Chile in 2001. 

David RoseAge: 40 Born: 30/08/63 Lives: Birmingham

Former Moseley, Walsall and Wolverhampton fly-half who has risen rapidly through the ranks since his first game – Claverdon II v Ford Leamington II in 1999. Works as a Referee Development Officer for the RFU in the Midlands.




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